GIBSON CO., IN (WFIE) - School staff, including coaches, are going to be told not to participate in student led prayer in South Gibson County.
The “Freedom From Religion Foundation" shared a news release Wednesday saying it comes after they filed a complaint.
The organization says a photo was posted on social media that shows coaching staff and players bowing their heads in prayer at a home game on Nov. 2.
An attorney for FFRF sent the school corporation a letter reminding them it’s unconstitutional for public school athletic coaches to lead their teams in prayer or participate in student prayers.
The Supreme Court has continually struck down school-sponsored prayer in public schools,” said Attorney Ryan Jayne. “When public school employees acting in their official capacities organize and advocate for team prayer, they effectively endorse religion on the District’s behalf.”
The FFRF says they received a response letter from the school district this week.
“We want to emphasize to our personnel that they may not participate [in] any such student led prayer,” the letter read. “We further plan to instruct the school personnel, including all coaches, that they may not encourage, lead, initiate, mandate, either directly or indirectly, any such student prayer.”
We applaud the district for taking steps to honor its students’ First Amendment rights,” says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “Coaches may pray on their own time in any way they would like. They are not, however, permitted to coerce students and players to pray in any way whatsoever.”
14 News has reached out the school corporation for further comment.